Remembering those fortnights on the Italian Riviera is a reason to return…

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The Mare Pineta is popular with Italian and British families alike

by Brigit Grant

If you want to get hold of Stephanie Viner this summer, try calling the Grand Hotel in Rimini. Better still, go there – as the hotel which first opened its doors over 100 years ago is the place to head this summer for the ultimate Italian Riveria experience.

I have my own memories of falling in love with a doe-eyed waiter at the Hotel Mare Pineta in Milano Marittima which I shared with an amused Stephanie who has as many stories of her own about the resort that is now her second home. “The Grand has a unique history and been host to so many famous people,” she says citing Princess Diana, Christian Barnard, ex-President Gorbechov, Sharon Stone and Sofia Loren as glittering examples. “And film director Federico Fellini was in almost permanent residence and based one of his most famous films Amacord on his memories of the building from when he was a young child growing up in Rimini.”

Not that you have to be a star to stay at The Grand or the Mare Pineta as both play host to entire Italian families who descend for the month of August along with UK families who can’t stop coming back.

So what is so unique about a summer holiday at The Grand and now the Marie Pinenta?

Stephanie explains: “The Grand Hotel is situated in Rimini, which as you know is a typical buzzy Italian resort. The hotel itself is like an oasis of calm and has it’s own private beach which is the only one on the entire coastline.”

The Mare Pineta which opened in 1927 is in a smaller, more intimate resort that is perfect for tennis players as it has ten private courts. But the formidable ageso f both properties has not prevented them from keeping up with the times as they have all the modern comforts (air-conditioning, free wi-fi access, etc) and kids clubs operating in July and August.

“Both resorts cater for all ages – think 8 to 80,“ says Stephanie, who fell in love with Italy while working for Ailitalia. “There’s shops, cafes, water parks, childrens playgrounds and organized visits to nearby cities of historical interest. There really is something for everyone and the summer packages which include half board also offer a limited number of free places for children sharing a room with their parents.” Stephanie says rates are so diverse you need to call her for a quote as room type, number of people and the dates determine the price.

So give her a call on 020 8346 4742 and if she doesn’t pick up you know where she’ll be.